Full Name : Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff, Jr.
Nationality : Dutch
Born : August 30, 1852 in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died : March 1, 1911 in Steglitz, Berlin, Germany
Mother : Alida Kolff van ‘t Hoff
Father : Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff, Sr.
Awards : Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1901), ForMemRS (1897), Davy Medal
Fields : Physical chemistry, Organic chemistry and Theoretical chemistry
7 interesting facts about van ‘t Hoff :
Jacobus H. van ‘t Hoff was a Dutch chemist and the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was one of the influential physical and theoretical chemist of his generation. His research led to many breakthrough in many fields of chemistry.
1. First Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry
Hoff was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1901 for his research into solutions. He proved that dilute solutions follow mathematical laws that showed almost the same characteristic of the laws of gases. This made him the first person to win the award in that category.
2. Research Works
Hoff was one of the pace setters in theoretical chemistry. His research led to the modern theory of chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics, chemical affinity and chemical thermodynamics. Through his pamphlet, Van‘t Hoff laid the foundation of stereochemistry and formed the theory of tetrahedral carbon atom.
3. Had Interest in Science since Childhood
Unlike many scientist who had passion for science during high school days, Hoff’s passion was from his childhood. This may partly due to the fact that his father Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff, Sr. was a physician. He took part in many science related events.
4. Love for Poetry and Philosopher
Despite his growing passion for science and nature, Hoff was also interested in philosophy and poetry. His idol in poetry in philosophy was Lord Byron. He however didn’t take this further as he concentrated on chemistry.
5. He Defied his Dad to Study Chemistry
Hoff study of chemistry was against his father wish. Nonetheless, he made his passion for the subject drive him. He obtained a degree in chemical technology in 1971, at the Delft University of Technology. He used two years to achieve that instead of three years. In 1974 he received his doctorate at the University of Utrecht.
After his doctorate, Hoff was employed as a lecturer in chemistry and physics at the Veterinary College of Utrecht. He later moved to the University of Amsterdam where he worked as a professor of chemistry, geology and mineralogy. In 1911, he taught at the University of Berlin where he ended his career.
Aside for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry he was awarded the Helmholtz Medal of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and the Davy Medal of the Royal Society. Harvard University, Yale, University of Manchester and Victoria University awarded him honorary doctorates.